New Report from the Vera Institute: The Fiscal Crisis in Corrections: Rethinking Policies and Practices

A new report from Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections finds that at least 22 states are cutting corrections budgets in response to the worst fiscal crisis in decades. 

The Fiscal Crisis in Corrections: Rethinking Policies and Practices highlights the impact of these cuts and the innovative ways officials are seeking to reduce spending while maintaining—and in some cases enhancing—public safety. It is based on a survey of enacted FY2010 state budgets and recent legislation.

“Cuts to corrections have been off the table for decades, so this marks a major change in budgetary policy,” says the report’s author, Christine Scott-Hayward. “Fortunately, many legislators have been inspired by recent research on what works in corrections to make cuts and investments in greater public safety at the same time.”

Highlights of the report include:

  • At least 28 states are reducing staff, instituting hiring freezes, reducing salaries or benefits, and/or eliminating pay increases.
  • An increasing number of states are identifying groups of people who can be safely released after serving shorter terms behind bars.
  • At least 20 states are closing facilities/reducing beds or delaying expansion/construction of new facilities.

The Fiscal Crisis in Corrections: Rethinking Policies and Practices was funded by the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States. 

To download this report visit Vera’s web site at